Thursday, April 14, 2011

Permanent Impermanence

Everything is impermanent. This is the lesson that has slowly started sinking in around the 150th time I heard it in yoga teacher training. And it is starting to affect my life in dramatic ways.

First, let's define what it means. Impermanence means not permanent.  It means everything will continually change. There is not one thing that will come into your life and stay exactly as-is throughout your entire life. Or maybe even throughout your entire day. Not understanding this with our entire being is what causes the suffering we feel. Instead of being grateful for something during the time it exists, and then letting it go once it is ceasing to exist, we often hold on tighter and tighter once we feel it slipping away. We fight. We grasp. Yet, it still slips away, because nothing can stay forever. This is the root of much of our unhappiness. This attachment to something that will inevitably leave us.

This concept of impermanence played a huge role this morning. Last night I got home from Yoga Teacher Training around 11pm. Throw in a conversation with my boyfriend since I hadn't seen him all day, and suddenly it was after midnight. I set my alarm to make the 6:30am Hot Vinyasa without really thinking I would actually get up for it - not with going to bed so late. Almost as soon as my head hit the pillow, my alarm went off. How did 5 hours go by so quickly?!? I groggily hit snooze. I debated in my head about getting up. I was SO sleepy. It felt so good to be warm and comfy. Then, yesterday's lecture about impermanence popped into my head. At some point, I would be getting out of bed. And at that point I would still be feeling warm and cozy and sleepy. I wasn't going to stay here forever. So I could either get out of bed now and do something I knew would make me feel amazing (go to Missy's morning yoga class) or hold onto this comfort a few moments longer but probably regret missing yoga once I had to get up anyway. I got up.

Within a half hour I was laying on my mat enveloped in the heat and silence of the yoga studio. There, I proceeded to slowly open my up my body. Lazy stretches turned into an energetic kickass flow. Then we took our mats to the wall and did an entire section on my favorite topic - inversions. I'm not good at them, but for some reason turning upside down makes me feel almost giddily drunk. I just enjoy that stacking feeling and immense upper body strength (that I don't yet have but am working on). Every time my arms began to shake I would smile - so happy I was there. My body felt marvelous and I knew it was going to be a good day.

Impermanence was what got me out of bed this morning. It is what convinced me not to cling to the comfort I was feeling and miss out on something even better.  When you feel yourself craving something - just a few more minutes sleep, just one more cookie, just one more phone call to an ex - remind yourself to let go. Be grateful for what you had, and acknowledge that something better might be just around the corner, whether it is an incredible day, a tear-free bathing suit shopping session, or the partner of your dreams. Let go of your cravings, your attachments. And open yourself up to the next wonderful yet impermanent thing.


  1. Through a mutual friend's comment on something you recently posted, I discovered "Bent Yoga". At first glance, this particular blog post caught my attention. After reading it, I realized it was by no accident. Today happens to be a day that I am forced to let go of something, and the anticipation of that over the last several days has filled me with anxiety and sadness. Looking at impermanence in this new way is what will get me through. So, thank you...great post!

  2. Wow - thank you so much for your comment!!! So many of my ramblings are just that - me rambling about whatever has caught my attention in that moment. To know it has helped someone, or even just made them think a little differently, is precious beyond words. It is weird to feel connected to someone you have never met, yet through your comment I feel just that.

    I truly appreciate you taking the time to share to share your story. Good luck with your letting go.


  3. Thank you, Jenn! Keep spreading great words of wisdom. :)